Author Claims $9.99 Is Not A 'Real Price' For Books

from the oh-really? dept

The NY Times is running an article about how publishers' recent attempts (mostly successful) to boost the retail price of ebooks may backfire really badly as consumers revolt. Most of it is not particularly new to regular readers here, but it does talk to one author whose book received bad reviews on Amazon after his publisher decided to hold off releasing an ebook, hoping that it would "protect" hardcover sales. The author, Douglas Preston, lashes out and attacks his fans, rather than being willing to admit that his customers are telling him something:
"The sense of entitlement of the American consumer is absolutely astonishing.... It's the Wal-Mart mentality, which in my view is very unhealthy for our country. It's this notion of not wanting to pay the real price of something.... It gives me pause when I get 50 e-mails saying 'I'm never buying one of your books ever again. I'm moving on, you greedy, greedy author.'"
So, what's a bigger sense of entitlement? The one where your customers tell you that you've priced something too high and that they're going to spend their money with others who are offering something at a price point they like? Or the one where you insist that books have to be priced high because you want them to be priced high? I'd argue it's the latter... Along those lines, $9.99 is a real price. Just because you don't like what the market decides a book is worth, doesn't mean that it's not a real price.

Filed Under: books, douglas preston, ebooks, entitlement, pricing

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  1. icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), 12 Feb 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Let's try a bit of reality here

    We can argue all we want about the costs of producing a book. At least what the big publishing houses say the cost is.

    The reality is that if the price point is too high people won't buy, If it's a good price they well, all other things being equal.

    The one who sounds like he has a terminal sense of entitlement is Douglas Preston and the large publishers who don't seem to remember that our economic culture is anything but a mercantile one any longer which guarantees any price to any one. Mercantilism is alive and well in some quarters!

    Can't say I'm sure that anyone would be all the interested in pirating his books given that doesn't seem to be as much of an issue as it is with the recording industry and the movie industry. The latter two more than guilty enough of producing low quality product and charging luxury prices. (Not to mention making quite a living off the public domain and trying to copyright it later!)

    Ten bucks sounds about right for the kind of work he produces in fiction, though I might be tempted to pay more for his non-fiction.



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